God is an independent film fan. That’s the only explanation for why the El Niño rains that have been pounding Los Angeles for the previous week cleared just long enough for blue skies to shine on the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch on Saturday, January 9.
As always, the annual Spirit Awards brunch provided an opportunity for the current nominees to rub shoulders with past winners, honorees, press and other members of the Film Independent family.
The brunch also saw the announcement of three Film Independent Spirit Award grant winners, whose total take in unrestricted filmmaker grants totaled a whopping $75,000.
The winners were announced by brunch co-hosts Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) and Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black.) You can watch the entire grant awards ceremony below or on Film Independent’s YouTube channel.
To recap, the winners of this year’s Spirit Awards filmmaker grants:
Mel Eslyn, received the Piaget Producers Award, honoring producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films. Finalists for the award included Darren Dean, Rebecca Green and Laura D. Smith.
Felix Thompson, director of King Jack, received the Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award, which recognized talented filmmakers of singular vision who have not yet received appropriate recognition. Finalists for the award included Robert Machoian & Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, directors of God Bless the Child and Chloé Zhao, director of Songs My Brothers Taught Me.
And Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, director of Incorruptible, received the Truer Than Fiction Award, which is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not received significant recognition. Finalists for the award included Ali Naqvi & Hemal Trivedi, directors of Among the Believers and Elizabeth Giamatti & Alex Sichel, directors of A Woman Like Me.
Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees! The 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards, hosted by Kate McKinnon & Kumail Nanjiani, will be held on Saturday, February 27 in Santa Monica and broadcast live exclusively on IFC at 2:00pm PT / 5:00 ET. So tune in then!
For more information about the Spirit Awards—including a full list of nominees—click here. Vote for Spirit Award winners by becoming a Member of Film Independent by Friday, January 15. And for exclusive Spirit Award clips, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Matt Warren / Film Independent Digital Content Manager